5 Marijuana Health Myths

smoking-6It seems as though the legalization of marijuana is in the news more and more, and with good reason. 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana in either small amount, or through prescription. With the legalization come rumors and myths about marijuana and its effects on the body and mind.

Myth #1:  Marijuana is a “gateway” drug.

Despite anti-drug education campaigns, which state marijuana is a gateway for harder drug use, new research from the University of New Hampshire says for most people that are not true [http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/marijuana-7-health-myths-up-in-smoke/] . However, pot does serves as a “gateway” to other heavier drugs.  The path to heavier drugs tends to happen whether marijuana is used or not.  This tends to happen in younger people who are poor, unemployed, and subjected to severe psychological stress or other psychological issues. In other words, the path to other drugs is not necessarily the pot, but it can be a trigger for those who are already in a situation that would make them more likely to do “hardcore” drugs to begin with.

Myth #2:  Marijuana can make you crazy.

smoking (2)Can marijuana make you crazy? Not exactly. Studies find little evidence that marijuana causes mental illness. Some users do experience anxiety and paranoia, and too much weed can cause toxic psychosis. That is when you lose contact with reality. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that although depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances are linked with chronic use, it is not clear whether pot causes those problems or is used to “self-medicate” against them.

Myth #3:  Marijuana doesn’t harm your lungs.

It seems logical that smoking weed could lead to lung cancer, as The American Lung Association says pot smoke has more carcinogens than cigarette smoke. Pot smokers also tend to inhale more deeply and hold the smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs’ exposure. However, the evidence, at this point does not seem to back up the notion. A large study in 2006 found no link between weed and lung cancer. This to the surprise of the UCLA research team, whose members expected to find a correlation. However, as with any research study, a later study may present a different result.

Myth #4:  Marijuana is not addictive.

Marijuana may not be physically addictive like nicotine and other “hardcore” drugs, but many experts agree that it can become a hard to break addiction. Addiction, as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is “compulsive use even when the user says it is getting in the way of home, work or school”. Therefore, if you can only do your homework after smoking weed, you might have a problem.

Hair-replacement (2)Myth #5:  Marijuana destroys your immune system.

According to the National Institutes of Health researchers, THC has a negative effect on various immune cells, but there are no human studies to date, which connect that effect with increased infection. A 2002 study found that marijuana has an effect on the immune system, but because of the overall complexity of the human immune system, scientists were not able to pinpoint the percentage of increased risk.

According to studies, no, marijuana does not make you crazy, or make you any more likely to use “hardcore” drugs. However, legal or not, you should use great care while partaking in marijuana.

The Article Author:

Blair Thomas is an electronic payment expert, who is the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com, a high risk merchant account company who sets up credit card processing for marijuana dispensaries. If you would like to see what he’s up to, add him to your Google+ circle and check out his company’s youtube channel.